Scarblade's Pearl: The Revenge - Part Five
Soon after proving to her friends that her powers could heal, Nira began to feel faint. Jacques had quickly escorted the young Shoyru to his cabin and left her there to rest. When he returned, Caylis, Isca, and Garin all looked grave. Jacques sighed deeply.
"So...?" he said uncertainly, casting a look at each of them. None raised their heads. Isca mimicked Jacques' sigh and shook her head vigorously.
"What are we to say? She'll remember sooner of later, and if we don't tell her before then, it might be worse!" she exclaimed in frustration.
Garin groaned and leaned back in the row boat.
"I hate when things get complicated..." he mumbled. He started and nearly tipped both himself and Jacques into the water when Isca slapped him on the knee.
"Stop worrying about yourself! Think of Nira!" she nearly shouted. Not used to having Isca get so passionate, Garin sat up and fell suddenly silent. Caylis pursed her lips.
"I have to agree with Garin on some degree, however. We now find ourselves in a very difficult position," she said calmly. Jacques nodded gravely.
"As my mother used to say, we're up the stream without a paddle," he muttered. All heads nodded in agreement.
"Maybe I could help?" called a new voice suddenly. Garin, Isca, Caylis, and Jacques all turned simultaneously to look up at the Black Pawkeet. Leaning over the side and watching them carefully was none other than Raiqil. The Kougra looked anxious and agitated, especially since his ears kept flicking.
"You? Help? ...How?" Garin asked, putting on a puzzled expression. Rai seemed to bite his lip, but he did not back off.
"I've been Nira's friend for a long time. Even though it's been years, we knew each other like brother and sister before," he explained.
Jacques put a hand to his chin.
"And you think this will make it easier to talk to her?" he asked, raising his eyebrows. Rai began to wring his hands nervously.
"Well... yeah..." he replied simply.
Garin and Jacques turned to look at Caylis and Isca.
"What do you think?" Garin asked.
"I don't really want to place the burden on anyone else, but he did offer," she said quietly.
"And he did say they're like brother and sister. It might sound better coming from him," Caylis pointed out.
Garin sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. Jacques gave his captain a look, knowing what Garin had been hoping for. Garin half grinned at his friend and shrugged innocently, spreading his hands. Rolling his eyes, Jacques turned back to Rai.
"Alright, but wait until she wakes up. Then you can go to her," he said. Rai's face brightened, and he nodded before disappearing from sight. When he had gone, Isca smacked Garin's knee again, which made the Usul jump.
"You're so... incorrigible!" she exclaimed angrily. This, of course, just made Garin laugh out loud.
Nira woke slowly the next morning. Her eyes, still bleary with sleep, scanned Jacques' cabin.
Never thought I'd be spending the night here again, she thought with a grin. With a yawn, she sat up and stretched. It felt good to be rested. Pausing, Nira reached over to touch the spot where Scarblade's cutlass had bitten into her skin. It took a moment for her to remember healing it the night before, in front of her friends. Now that had been cool.
And yet, something wasn't right. For the life of her, Nira just couldn't remember how she'd ended up floating there, in that little boat, with Caylis, Isca, Garin, and Jacques all around her.
I re-bandaged your wound, but it's worse than before...
Jacques' words echoed through Nira's memory. Why had she needed her arm to be re-bandaged? And why had it been worse. Nira searched and searched until finally, she found it. She winced as images flashed before her eyes and voices echoed through her mind.
Good morning, Lass...
Happy to see me?
Common? What are you talkin' about, Lass?
Quit playin' with me, Lass!!
I WAS YOUR LEADER, YOU CAPTAIN! THE CLOSEST THING YOU HAD TO A FATHER!
HOW DARE YOU BETRAY ME!!
Lightning... Scarblade... they....
Tears. Hot and sticky, they rolled relentlessly down Nira's cheeks. Despair. It gripped her like a vice. But through her despair, she made not a single sound. Not even a strangled sob. She just sat there, rigid, staring at nothing. Still the tears fell.
She didn't even hear it when the door to the cabin creaked open and Rai came in.
"Oh, Nira, you're awake-" The Kougra's happy words cut off when Nira turned sharply to face him. His eyes widened when he saw the tears on Nira's cheeks. Nira's eyes narrowed sadly, her tears making Rai turn into a spotted blob.
"Lightning..." she choked out.
Rai dropped the tray he'd been carrying, the breakfast he'd been planning to give Nira clattering across the floor.
"You remembered," he said quietly.
Nira got to her feet, staggering a bit as fatigue took hold of her.
"Rai... Lightning!" she cried, sobs finally beginning to escape her. Nira started to fall forward, but Rai caught her and held her in his arms. Against his shoulder she cried, her sobs shaking her entire body at times. Over and over she cried her friend's name, driving a thorn into Rai's heart each time.
"I'm sorry, Nira... I'm so sorry...." he mumbled into her hair.
When her tears had dried, Rai set Nira down on the bed and left to find Jacques and Garin. Nira didn't protest, didn't even look at him when Rai made her sit. She just did whatever he wanted, clutching her arms, eyes glazed over and staring at nothing. Garin and Jacques came in a few minutes later. Rai was there too, but he stayed just outside, not wanting to see Nira in her current state.
Garin and Jacques, meanwhile, each pulled a chair up in front of Nira. There was a lot to talk about, they just didn't know where to start.
"How you feeling?" Jacques asked tentatively. Nira didn't react in the slightest.
"You wanna talk?" Garin tried. Still nothing. A long silence passed before Garin slapped his knees and uttered a curse.
"For Fyora's sake, Nira, say something!" he cried in frustration.
Nira blinked slowly, then turned and icy glare on Garin.
"What do you want me to say? What good will it do for me to say anything?" she asked, voice cracking a little.
"It's better than sitting like a statue and keeping all your feelings bottled up," he muttered. Nira's glare turned on him.
"What if I want to bottle it up?!" she exclaimed angrily. She stood so suddenly that Garin and Jacques found themselves tipping back in their chairs.
"You don't know what I've been through!! You don't know what I did!! You don't even know me!!" she shouted. She'd become so loud that Rai was peering in worriedly, and a few crew members outside were glancing toward the cabin as they passed.
Garin got to his feet, making calming gestures with his hands.
"Settle down, Nira. We're only trying to help," he said quietly.
Nira's fists clenched threateningly, and the ship rocked enough to make most of the crew wobble on their feet.
"Help?! HELP?! Where were you when I NEEDED help?! Where were you when Scarblade burned down Lightning's house and kidnapped me?! Where were you when the fire started to consume the house with Lightning likely still inside?! WHERE WERE YOU THEN?!"
Jacques and Garin looked and each other, lost.
"We didn't know-" Jacques started to say, but Nira cut him off.
"No, you didn't!! And now Lightning's gone and it's all... Scarblade's... fault...." Nira fell back onto the bed, putting her head in her hands.
"She's... gone...." she whispered, quietly enough that Garin and Jacques hardly heard her.
Garin and Jacques sighed deeply.
"There's nothing we can do about that..." Jacques muttered sadly.
Nira's head lifted slowly from her hands, her eyes staring into space again. But this time they were lit with the sparks of an idea.
"No, you can't... but I can!" she murmured, mostly to herself.
"Can? Can what?" Garin asked, not liking the look in Nira's eyes.
Her fists clenched again, this time with determination. Her eyes hardened as she turned to look at Garin.
"I can go after Scarblade. I can get my revenge. For Lightning," she said quietly.
Jacques shook his head vigorously.
"No, Nira! Don't you know the saying, 'an eye for and eye makes the whole world blind'?" he asked anxiously. But Nira wasn't listening.
"If I devastate his ship, he may never come after me again. And I will have avenged Lightning at the same time." Nira's voice was getting stronger and stronger as her resolve grew. She was standing now, facing the open cabin door.
"Nira, no! This isn't right! You're not like-"
Nira completely ignored Garin's words and suddenly sprinted out the door. Once she was out on deck and past a stunned looking Rai, she spread her wings and took to the sky. She heard her name shouted from behind, but she didn't look back. Instead she locked her eyes on the horizon. This time, she would go searching for Scarblade. This time, he would pay.
Scarblade's ship had hardly moved an inch since Nira had flown off. The crew of the Revenge had watched in fascinated horror as their captain shouted curses after the Shoyru until she was well out of sight. He didn't really stop until his voice had failed to work at all. Then he fell on his knees, panting, before storming off to his cabin and locking himself inside. The crew was still in such a state of shock that they hadn't tended to the ship at all in the last twenty four hours.
When Nira appeared on the horizon, they weren't sure what she was at first. But as she got closer and closer, it became clearer and clearer to them that Nira had returned. They weren't sure if this was a good thing of bad thing, but with their captain on the brink of insanity, they were hoping for the first.
"Captain, Captain!" Benny the Blade called, knocking furiously on Scarblade's cabin door.
"Come quick! It's Nira, Captain!" he shouted, loud as he could. Soon, Nira would be right above the ship.
Poor Benny was thrown aside roughly when the door opened out and forced him off to the side. Scarblade's eyes didn't even glance his way. They were fixed on searching the skies, and once he'd spotted Nira, that was where they stayed. A sly grin spread across his face, and he slowly made his way down to the center of the main deck.
Nira circled the ship twice before landing lightly on the railing, facing Scarblade. The captain smiled his cruel smile and strode forward, stopping only a few paces from where Nira perched.
"I didn't get to praise ya before you left, Lass. Your swordsmanship has improved since I last dueled ya," he said smoothly. Nira flinched, nearly loosing her balance, but managed to recover in time. She hadn't expected Scarblade to approach her with praise. And for some reason, a reason she could not fathom in the tiniest way, she liked it. She wanted to drink every last drop of his praise.
Scarblade could see it in her eyes. That longing for praise that had always haunted Nira's eyes. Real joy began to burn inside him. Just a little more, and he would have her eating out of his hands.
"And your stance was better than ever. You were in top form, weren't you?"
More. More! Nira needed more! Her heart yearned for it, begged for it. She had to crouch on the rail and grip it in her hands to keep from tipping.
What's the matter with me?! she thought furiously.
How could she want praise from a barbarian like him?! He'd had her destroy a town just because it was occupied by Maraquans, he'd thrown her overboard for her first ever bit of rebellion, he'd come after her, destroying her home and... Lightning....
And yet, she still couldn't resist it. It was like she was a piece of metal and he the magnet. No matter how hard she tried, she kept being drawn back. One hand released the rail to grip and handful of hair.
"What's the matter, Nira? Not feeling well?" Scarblade asked in an almost caring way. Nira felt herself sway.
"What happened to that cut on your arm? Looks like it was never there."
Nira's eyes blinked open slowly and she turned a somewhat dazed and confused look to Scarblade.
"My arm? I... healed it...." she said quietly, looking at the deck.
"You healed it? With yer powers? You never cease to amaze me with the wonders of yer powers, Nira!" Scarblade exclaimed. Nira felt her heart swelling with praise. Why? Why couldn't she shake it off?!
"I'm sorry, Nira. I never meant to hurt you. I just got carried away, that's all," he said more quietly.
She could feel it. She was breaking. Just a few more words and she'd be helpless.
"I never meant for yer friend Lightning to get hurt," he added.
Nira's eyes snapped up, wide and clear, to stare at Scarblade.
And the "Lightning" character?
Let's say she's out of the pan and into the fire.
She didn't know where she'd heard them, but Nira knew they had been spoken in her presence. She recalled having heard once that sometimes people could hear others talking to them when they were unconscious, or even just have memories of conversations held around them. Whatever the reason, Nira finally broke free of Scarblade's hold. That one lie had shattered it all.
"You..." she said quietly, looking at the deck again. Her eyes closed against stinging tears.
"You liar! You wanted Lightning out of the way, so that no one would come after me! So no would know or care that I had gone missing!" she shouted, the pieces coming together quickly in her mind.
"You aren't sorry at all! You just want me back under your thumb, doing whatever you ask without a single word of resistance!"
Nira stood, rock steady now, to glare down at Scarblade.
"I didn't come back for that, Scarblade. I came back to avenge Lightning, and to get revenge for all the pain you put me through!"
Before Scarblade could say another word, Nira flapped her wings and took to the air. Shouts of dismay and confusion could be heard from below. Nira circled around until she was a good deal higher, then rotated her wings in such a way to allow her to hover in place. Without a word, she raised both hands toward the vessel.
Out of the water sprang a wave, thin and sharp, and Nira froze it in place. Then, she had the ice dip below the surface and cut a gash through the hull. She could sense the water now gushing into the ship's belly.
Allowing the slab to melt away, Nira pulled a pillar of water from the sea and shaped it into a long spear, then froze it. Looking directly at Scarblade, she brought the spear down as hard as she could, stabbing the ship in its very center. Some may have said that this was enough. Scarblade's ship had been damaged so much he'd have a hard time getting to the nearest port. But Nira, in her revenge-seeking mind, didn't think so.
Last of all she shaped water into an enormous cutlass. When it had frozen through, Nira drove it through each of the Revenge's masts, slicing them all to pieces. She wasn't cruel, though, and she unfroze the cutlass to use the water to keep the masts from crushing anyone. Then she chucked them into the ocean.
One last time, she looked at Scarblade. She could see he was seething with rage, even from this distance. She didn't care. He was nothing to her now.
She turned and flew back towards the Black Pawkeet. She hoped never to see Scarblade again.